Twitter’s current policy is to lock an account any time it detects unusual behavior — such as tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions, sharing misleading links, or if an account has been blocked by a large number of users it mentioned in its own tweets.
To get an account unlocked, the owner of the account must validate the account and reset their password. If an account owner does not validate their account after being locked, they will be unable to log in. As of this week, the accounts that have been locked will be removed from follower counts.
Twitter says most users will only notice a slight change in follower numbers, with most seeing as little as four or fewer followers removed from their follow list. Users and brands with larger follower counts may see a more significant drop.
“We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation,” writes Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust and safety teams, Vijaya Gadde on the Twitter blog.
This latest effort will only apply to follower numbers, but Twitter says it plans to cover all aspects of the platform, including Tweets, Likes and Retweets.
“This specific update is focused on followers because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility,” writes Gadde, who clarifies that once an account is locked, it can no longer Tweet, Like, or ReTweet, and it is not served ads.
Twitter says this change will not impact its monthly or daily active user metric because accounts that have been locked for more than a month are not included in MAU or DAU numbers.
“While today’s change doesn’t affect MAU or DAU, some accounts we remove from the service as part of our ongoing commitment to a healthy public conversation have the potential to impact publicly reported metrics,” writes Gadde.
Twitter has made significant strides to clean up the spam and malicious activity on the the platform this year. Most recently, it launched its Ad Transparency Center, an archive of ads that have run on the platform that details like who paid for the ad, the campaign budget and targeting data. The company has also recently modified how conversations play out based on users behavior and conduct versus the content they tweet, and updated its rules around political ads.
Last month, Twitter reported it had removed 214 percent more spam accounts year-over-year, and suspended more than 142,000 apps for violated Twitter policies during Q1 of this year.